Posts filed under: ‘Understanding Damage‘

Hair Growth Tips Part V: Understand Damage. Know the Damage

So, one of the major obstacles to obtaining long hair is hair damage especially at the ends, the driest oldest part of the hair. In fact, it might be the top obstacle to achieving hair length.  Think about it this way: If the average head of hair grow 0.5in (1.27cm) per month and you are losing, for example 0.5 inches of hair per month, you net hair growth is 0 inches.  As a result your hair stays the same length.  Once you know the common sources of damage, you can prevent them and therefore draw closer and closer to you hair growth goals.

There are two major types of damage: mechanical damage and chemical damage.  I am sure a lot of you learned about changes in matter in middle school science (whether you remember it or not).  I remember (for some reason or another) from my 6th science book that one type of chemical change is rusting.  I do not remember the book’s example for a physical change but I would say breaking a piece of chalk or stick or molding a piece of clay can be an example.

For hair damage, it is good to think of chemical damage and mechanical damage as similar to chemical and physical change respectively as the way you may have learned about it in physical science.  Chemical damage is similar to chemical change and mechanical damage is similar to physical change.  In fact, I shouldn’t say similar.  Damage is a type of change. Abi? So mechanical damage usually deals with some kind of pulling and chemical damage usually deals with change in pH.

I will also discuss heat damage but I do not actually know what category that goes under.  Probably physical damage, but I am going to take about it after chemical anyway.

Types of Mechanical Damage

  • Cotton Pillow Cases
  • Furniture with plant-based fabrics
  • Combing
  • Brushing
  • Pulling
  • Styling tools
    • Hair bands


  • Use a silk or satin pillow case and a satin bonnet when going to sleep.
  • You may want to carry a silk cloth around you to place on your car seat and couches you sit on to protect hair from the friction.  I do not do this but if you a really obsessed with hair growth, why not?
  • Detangle hair gently.  You may not ever want to use a comb and instead finger detangle.  I talk about this more in here the detangling edition of the hair growth series.
  • Do not touch your hair or pull it.
  • When styling the hair use tools that do not pull the hair.  For example, Goody’s has Goody Comfort-Flex Updo Barrettes.  I use them and they have never taken out my hair.  Banana clips and these things (that I can’t remember the name of but I’ll provide a picture) are also good.

This is what I was talking about

Goodies and Annie’s sell this hair accessory but not as fancy

You can also soak ouchless hair bands (those without metal) in oils like cocoa nut oil or olive oil or you can use a silk or satin scrunchy.  These will prevent damage and breakage.  I will show you some styles to do with these.


Chemical damage usually comes from an unhealthy pH balance.  Anything between 4 and 5.5 probably the healthiest pH balance.  Anything between 4 and 7 is the acceptable.  Most chemicals with a pH higher than 7(basic) or lower than 4 (very acidic) are usually more damaging.  There are a few chemicals/products/substances that distort the pH balance of the hair.  When the pH of the hair is above 7 or below 4, the hair follicle’s cuticle opens making it more prone to damage.

Products you want to stay away from because of the pH:

  • Certain soaps even “organic” ones may have pH balance between 7 and 8
  • Mild Relaxers — 8-11
  • Regular relaxers (those with lye sodium hydroxide NaOH or calcium) -14 (the high pH possible)
  • Baking Soda — 8.3-9.0
  • A clean swimming pool 7.6-7.8
  • Lemon Juice 2
  • Most vinegars (not diluted) 2.4-3.6
  • Egg whites 7.9-9.3


  • Most shampoos and conditioners are in the healthy range (4-7), but you can also apply aloe vera which has a pH of 4 after each wash to make sure.
  • Do not get relaxers.  If you absolutely have to you may want to consider getting a deep conditioner with protein and deep condition at least once per week.  This means leaving a deep conditioner on the hair for quite a while with a plastic bag and a towel.  I explain this in more detail here.  The reason you want to get a protein conditioner is because the alkaline substance opens the cuticle and then changes the protein structure.  Therefore a relaxer changes the structure of the hair strand.
  • Simple. Don’t use baking soda.  Why do you need to? Use shampoo or conditioner to wash.
  • I have a swimming regimen here
  • No need to use lemon juice on the hair.
  • If you absolutely need to use vinegar on the hair, say for clarifying, make sure to only use a little and dilute it with water. Use Apple Cider Vinegar but remember to dilute.
  • If you want to use egg as a protein treatment, only use the yolks and do not leave the egg in too long because the pH will rise.

Products that are acceptable for the hair based on pH:

  • Milk 6.4-6.8 (I was surprised that it is acidic too)
  • Egg Yolks 6.2 (but rises a little.  Make sure you do not keep it in the hair too long)
  • Water 7 (Of course. It’s neutral)

Substance that has the best pH for the hair:

  • Aloe Vera gel 4-4.5
  • Sebum 4.0-5.5 (but that’s naturally in the hair and on the skin anyway)
  • I wish I near about the pH of all the oils I use but I do not

Visit for more information.

I tried posting a video explanation of this pH thing but since the person who explained it wants to be weak-sauce, I am not even going to recommend her. She really is weak-sauce, yo! And I am trying to be nice about it.

Heat Damage

Like with a high pH level, high temperature also opens the cuticle of the hair to raise and therefore break.  This is probably why a lot of hair experts rarely put heat on their hair and if they do they are very careful about it.  Some only put heat on their hair 1-3 times per year.  Some only put heat on the hair once per week if they like the straight look.  There is also a woman called LongHairDontCare2011 on Youtube.  She straightens her hair and recommends using a heat protector. You should test a piece of hair on a paper towel to see if the iron is too hot.  If you burn your hair, it’s too hot. LongHairDontCare2011 also uses lower heat on the ends (since they are the most fragile parts of the hair).  I also recommend these steps.

But keep in mind that LHDC2011 also says that heat is not good for the hair. She simply does it because she believes she will be able to manage straight hair more easily than her natural texture of hair.  When she was trying to achieve length she rarely put heat on her hair and I have noticed that since she has been using heat it does not seem to have the same length retention as she did when she did not use heat.  I would also say that if you are transitioning from a relaxer or chemical treated hair to natural hair, do not, I repeat DO NOT straighten your heat or put heat on your hair at all. Period. Wait until the relaxer is all one and the hair is healthy.

In summary, I would say heat is not recommended if you desire hair length retention and heat is unnecessary in terms of beauty and hair management sake.  If you really, really insist that you need heat, be very, very careful.  No joke. Get a heat protectant (I don’t know of good ones since I don’t), get a good deep conditioner, test the iron with hair on paper towel.  Maybe using aloe vera afterwards could help too. Did I miss anything?

Please check out LongHairDontCare2011’s page here. She has some awesome hair and awesome hair styles straight as well as kinky.

Another important lesson or tip we can gather from this knowledge of heat is to rinse the hair with cold water (as cold as bearable) after washing the hair.  I make sure that my very last rinse when washing my hair is a cold rinse.  I use warm (no hot) water to shampoo or co-wash the hair, but after I deep condition, I use cold water, which is especially good now since it is so dang HOT outside!!!

The last thing I will say is that your hair can get damaged from a lack of moisture.  I do not know what category I would put this under.  Just make sure you moisturize and you can moisturize with aloe and water.

OK ya’ll.  I’m tired. Questions?  Email me.

Heard this song today.  Love it.  It has a great bass line.  Great harmony.  I can relate to it because I still don’t have a job.  Never realized how beautiful the song is:


Add a comment August 6, 2011






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